Ubuntu has caused GNU/Linux based operating systems to have many reviews recently, most concentrating on the more flashy parts such as the infamous rotating cube or wobbly windows provided by compiz fusion, rather than the things that actually make it such a enjoyable operating system to use.
I tried to pick some features that I have not seen mentioned before – these are some of the things that change my everyday use of the computer, so I feel they are worth mentioning. Some of the below features are provided by Gnome, some by Compiz Fusion. All are not exclusive to Ubuntu, but as that’s what I have installed at the moment I’ll demo them on that.
1. Clicking on the date shows your calendar from Evolution. I have linked my google calendar, so that’s shown here. Although I love this feature, it’s really about the system wide integration that OSS seems to promote. Windows just tries to change the time when you click it’s clock.
2. Keep windows on top. I use this so often, whether it’s IM windows or when writing an assignment, it’s nice to have things kept on top. I often copy data from websites into a document using this technique.
3. Add emblems to files. Since using System 6 on the Mac and being able to label files I have missed this. There are loads of emblems that can be overlaid on file icons to remind you to do things. I often mark assignments as completed or work in progress using this.
4. The recently released Gnome Do. It’s awesome! This is new, but has a lot of potential. Try it!
5. Icons for removable media change to represent the media in question. I use this to easily distinguish between camera cards, iPods, and memory sticks. This is such a genius idea and makes things simpler when working quickly.
6. The scale plug in for compiz fusion rearranges your windows and scales them down to fit the screen. Useful when working with loads of windows. They are still updated in real time as well, so videos still play etc. Again, simple but effective.
7. Avant window navigator (AWN) provides a nice little dock that looks good and works well.
8. Representing virtual desktops as a wall seems more logical than a cube to me. Get this by pressing meta+E when running compiz fusion. Straightforward and easy to use.
So there you go, do you have any additions to this list? I’ve tried to link to tutorials or the pages for each corresponding bit of software where it’s not included in Ubuntu by default.